From iaac: Minibuilders was conceptualized as a community of three modestly sized robots which were tasked with very specific jobs that aggregated to a large scale operation. Each robot completes its programmed job in sequence to fully construct an automated, inhabitable structure... (full article)

Voxel8: 3D Electronics Printing

Voxel8 announces its dual-head printer that prints thermoplastics and highly conductive silver inks together.

Project Beyond: 360° 3D Camera

From Project Beyond/Samsung: Today we offer a sneak preview of Project Beyond,the world’s first true 3D 360˚ omniview camera. Beyond captures and streams immersive videos in stunning high-resolution 3D, and allows every user to enjoy their viewing experience in the way they see fit. It offers full 3D reconstruction in all directions, using stereo camera pairs combined with a top-view camera to capture independent left and right eye stereo pairs. Project Beyond uses patent-pending stereoscopic interleaved capture and 3D-aware stitching technology to capture the scene just like the human eye, but in a form factor that is extremely compact. The innovative reconstruction system recreates the view geometry in the same way that the human eyes see, producing unparalleled 3D perception. Project Beyond is not a product, but one of the many exciting projects currently being developed by the Think Tank Team, an advanced research team within Samsung Research America. This is the first operational version of the device, and just a taste of what the final system we are working on will be capable of. Once complete, we hope to deploy Project Beyond around the world to beautiful and noteworthy locations and events, and allow users to experience those locations as if they were really there. The camera system can stream real time events, as well as store the data for future viewing... ( website )

3D Reconstruction Firm Paracosm Has Closed $3.3 Million In Seed Funding

From Paracosm: Paracosm, a cloud-based software company, raised 3.3 million in seed round funding to further its mission to 3D-ify the world. The round, led by Atlas Venture, includes contributions from iRobot, Osage University Partners, BOLDstart Ventures, New World Angels, Deep Fork Capital and a number of angel investors.  Paracosm's advanced three-dimensional reconstruction technologies create digital models of physical spaces. When shared with machines, these models serve as blueprints which provide robots and applications a greater sense of awareness and understanding of the physical world. Such technologies are valuable for robotics, video game development, special effects, indoor navigation applications, and for the improvement of both virtual and augmented reality experiences... ( full press release )

Soft Robotics Toolkit

From Harvard Biodesign Lab: The Soft Robotics Toolkit is a collection of shared resources to support the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. The toolkit was developed as part of educational research being undertaken in the Harvard Biodesign Lab. The ultimate aim of the toolkit is to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other’s work. The toolkit includes an open source fluidic control board, detailed design documentation describing a wide range of soft robotic components (including actuators and sensors), and related files that can be downloaded and used in the design, manufacture, and operation of soft robots. In combination with low material costs and increasingly accessible rapid prototyping technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills, the toolkit enables soft robotic components to be produced easily and affordably... ( project's homepage )

ArduIMU V4: An Arduino Based Integrated Measurement Unit

Kickstarter for version 4 of ArduIMU: Initially, the ArduIMU project was started as an open source project by 3DRobotics in 2007 to create an inertial measurement unit based on the Arduino™. We contributed to the software development of that project, but, the initial ArduIMU was meant to be used solely as an inertial measurement unit. We want to do better than that; so we developed a brand new platform with other sensors such as a barometer, relative humidity sensor, and light sensor. We also included wireless communication capabilities as well an SD card for data logging and storage. Since then, we have gone through many revisions, adding even more sensors and functions which are present in the latest ArduIMU V4. With this new augmented and improved sensor board we are redefining the term IMU. We proudly present our Arduino™ based Integrated Measurement Unit: the ArduIMU V4... ( cont'd )

High Speed Bipedal Robot Running Using High Speed Visual Feedback

From University of Tokyo: ACHIRES is composed of high-speed vision and high-speed actuators to achieve instantaneous recognition and behavior. The similar technologies are used in our Janken (Rock Paper Scissors) Robot. High-speed vision detects the state of the biped robot including the timing of landing at 600 fps. The biped mechanism with the leg length of 14 cm is set to run in the sagittal plane. At present, the running velocity reaches 4.2 km/h. Simple control based on high-speed performance of sensory-motor system enables the biped robot to stably run without falling, unlike computationally expensive ZMP-based control which is commonly used for balance. The aerial posture is recovered to compensate for the deviation from the stable trajectory using high-speed visual feedback. We also address a task of somersaulting. While running, the robot takes a big swing with one foot and jumps. After takeoff, both legs are controlled to curl up for high-speed rotation in the air. ACHIRES is going to be improved to push the envelope while demonstrating various biped locomotion tasks... ( cont'd )

Self-Folding Origami Robot Goes From Flat to Walking in Four Minutes

From IEEE Spectrum: Printable, self-folding robot created by Harvard and MIT researchers... ( IEEE Spectrum story ) ( full paper )

Hitchbot is Halfway Across its Canadian Journey

From hitchBOT's page: I am hitchBOT — a robot from Port Credit, Ontario. I am traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia this summer. As you may have guessed, robots cannot get driver’s licences yet, so I’ll be hitchhiking my entire way... ( cont'd )

Ino: Command Line Toolkit for Arduino Hardware

Ino tools webpage : Ino is a command line toolkit for working with Arduino hardware It allows you to: Quickly create new projects Build a firmware from multiple source files and libraries Upload the firmware to a device Perform serial communication with a device (aka serial monitor) Ino may replace Arduino IDE UI if you prefer to work with command line and an editor of your choice or if you want to integrate Arduino build process to 3-rd party IDE. Ino is based on  make  to perform builds. However Makefiles are generated automatically and you’ll never see them if you don’t want to. Features Simple. No build scripts are necessary. Out-of-source builds. Directories with source files are not cluttered with intermediate object files. Support for  *.ino  and  *.pde  sketches as well as raw  *.c  and  *.cpp . Support for Arduino Software versions 1.x as well as 0.x. Automatic dependency tracking. Referred libraries are automatically included in the build process. Changes in  *.h  files lead to recompilation of sources which include them. Pretty colorful output. Support for all boards that are supported by Arduino IDE. Fast. Discovered tool paths and other stuff is cached across runs. If nothing has changed, nothing is build. Flexible. Support for simple ini-style config files to setup machine-specific info like used Arduino model, Arduino distribution path, etc just once. ( Homepage )  


From Tilman Griesel's posts on DIY Drones: Open source project to make FPV(first person view) with the raspberry pi easy to use for every one. OpenFPV is a project that uses latest technology to provide low latency, easy and well tested open source FPV flying. Based on single-board computers, HD cameras and IEEE 802.11.  Current Features: Recording Web interface Low-Latency H264 Streaming (≈120ms) RESTful API Customizable Extendable Installer (in progress) Minimal bettery consumption Roadmap: Invite more people to join the development team Complete the installer More field tests with different setups Create desktop applications for mac/win with HUD support Add OculusVR support Release is not available yet but you can follow the progress on DIY Drones or the  OpenFPV homepage .

Parallella: $119 Parallel Computing Platform with 16-core Epiphany chip

Parallella Computer Specifications: The Parallella platform is an open source, energy efficient, high performance, credit-card sized computer based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. This affordable platform is designed for developing and implementing high performance, parallel processing applications developed to take advantage of the on-board Epiphany chip. The Epiphany 16 or 64 core chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture... ( cont'd ) A realtime raytracing example running on the 16-core Epiphany chip:

Raspberry Pi Model B+

From Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Founder: This isn’t a “Raspberry Pi 2″, but rather the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi. Today, I’m very pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability, at $35 – it’s still the same price, of what we’re calling the Raspberry Pi Model B+. The Model B+ uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B. It runs the same software, and still has 512MB RAM; but James and the team have made the following key improvements: More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B. More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour. Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version. Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W. Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply. Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes... ( cont'd )

Intro to Shape Memory Alloy Actuation Using Flexinol

From Jie Qi's projects page: Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are metals that change shape when heated up. They are wonderful actuators in that they are light, silent and can be "turned on" by simply running current through. The shape that they change to can also be set, though this process is a bit more tricky. Flexinol is a particular brand of nitinol, which is an SMA made of nickel and titanium, and is pre-set to contract about 10% of its original length when heated. In my projects, I generally used the 0.006" to 0.01" diameter, High-Temp wires. Since Flexinol draws a lot of current (about 300mA for the diameters I used), you need a strong power supply like a wall supply or a good lithium-ion battery. I've used from 3.7V up to 6V (any more and my Flexinol wires would start overheating). To turn the Flexinol on, I would simply short the ends of the wire to the power. For digital control, I used a standard MOSFET circuit which is a digital switch that can be turned on and off using a microcontroller... ( cont'd )

BugJuggler: Project to build 70ft tall robot that juggles cars

Project Overview: BugJuggler will use a diesel engine to generate hydraulic pressure. An operator located in the robot’s head will be able to control its motions using a haptic feedback interface connected to high-speed servo valves. Hydraulic accumulators - essentially storage batteries for hydraulic fluid - will allow for the rapid movement required for the robot to juggle cars or other large, heavy objects.  The first stage of the BugJuggler project will be construction of a working 8ft tall single arm proof-of-principle juggler able to toss and catch a 250lb mass... ( cont'd )

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